Other Fish Super Beneficial

While research has shown that if a pregnant mom eats fish, it can decrease ADHD symptoms in her baby -- but if that fish contains mercury, it can actually increase the risk of ADHD.

Poached salmon dinner

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more popularly known as ADHD, affects as many as 1 in 10 children in the US. Recent research shows that if a pregnant woman consumes at least 2 servings of fish each week, it can decrease ADHD-like symptoms in her baby. But be careful -- if the fish has mercury in it, the risk is actually higher for her offspring.

What’s a mom to do?

"The 'big' fish, like tuna and swordfish, typically have higher levels of mercury than their smaller peers."

"The really important message is to eat fish," said Sharon Sagiv of Boston University School of Public Health., the study’s author. "Just stay away from mercury-containing fish, because these protective effects are pretty important."

What fish are tied to higher mercury levels? The “big” fish, like tuna and swordfish, typically have higher levels of mercury than their smaller peers. The best choices for a mom-to-be would be a fish such as salmon or haddock.

The research

Nearly 800 children were followed for this research. The moms kept a food diary, and shortly after delivery, a hair sample was used to test for mercury levels.

Once the children were around 8 years old, the mothers were asked to evaluate their children’s behavior, particularly ADHD-like symptoms. The researchers found that children of mothers who had at least 1 microgram of mercury in their hair at the time their baby was born had kids who were 60 percent more likely to exhibit the symptoms.

At the same time, they found that the effects of eating fish with low mercury levels canceled this out -- to the tune of 60 percent less chances of developing the symptoms.

The bottom line

Eat fish, but avoid tuna and swordfish. Make salmon and haddock a regular part of your prenatal menu. It’s delicious!

More on prenatal nutrition

Food fixes
10 Rules to eat by
Get your snack on

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